Communications students ready for assignments around papal visit

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nearly two dozen Penn State students will get hands-on, real-life experience as part of academic assignments or media partnerships surrounding the visit of Pope Francis to the United States.

Several small teams of students will be working in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to cover the visit through experiences crafted by College of Communications faculty members. Those include a depth-reporting class and a television reporting class, as well as collaborations with Catholic News Service nationally and the Centre Daily Times in State College.

“We’ve had faculty members working for months to make this a reality for students. In some cases our students have more access than others, but we’re committed to providing real-life experience around this once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Russ Eshleman, a senior lecturer and interim head of the Department of Journalism. “Some students will be in Washington, some in Philadelphia, and some in both cities. Many details and logistics took some time to finalize, and our faculty members did a nice job putting it together and making these opportunities possible for students.”

Journalism faculty members involved in the trips are: senior lecturers John Beale, Curt Chandler, Ann Kuskowski and Will Yurman. Also, John Dillon, the Norman Eberly Professor of Practice in Journalism, regularly leads a news practicum class that provides content for the Centre Daily Times, and Steve Kraycik, director of student television and online operations, leads the class that produces “Centre County Report,” a weekly TV newscast.

With 21 students involved, all working in small groups and each with different responsibilities, they should be positioned to share stories about the papal visit in a many different ways, and from a variety of perspectives.

For example, one group of students will make the trip to Washington, D.C., from Sept. 22 to 24 and will be focused on collaborations with Catholic News Service as well as content for “Centre County Report.”

For the Philadelphia portion of the pope’s visit (Sept. 26-27), two students from the news practicum class will travel by bus from Loretto to Philadelphia with members of the Altoona Diocese and students from St. Francis University. Others will drive to Warminster and take Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority trains to Philadelphia. 

Last Updated September 24, 2015